President Trump’s request for network television time to address the nation tomorrow night raises some questions and underscores some political realities. Such as:
–A President–any President—has major advantages when it comes to showdown fights with Congress. One of them is the wherewithal to dominate if not outright control the narrative–the basic storyline. This is especially true now, in the combined television and tweeter age.
—A President has major leverage with large corporations, such as those that own TV networks, because those corporations have so many needs and wants from instruments of government that a President controls.
—Do all networks carry the speech and appearance on the border or just cable?
–Do networks that do carry the President’s “show” follow it immediately with independent news analysis and fact-checking …or just go right back to regularly scheduled programs?
The list is long in both categories (questions and realities.)
This is a major power play by Mr. Trump; a shrewd one from his and his supporters point of view, one consternating for his opponents, and a reminder of some of the powers of the modern American Presidency.